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On From Passion Week (Part 5)

After being in the bush whilst it was raining and traveling along the muddy roads our bakkie got splattered with red mud, clay and dirt. Having a few visits this morning and not having had times to clean the vehicle yet, I decided to use the car. I inserted the key and turned it … no reaction. Being at automatic I checked I was in “Park” and tried again. The result was the same. The battery was dead! After all that, I used the dirty bakkie and after lunch removed the car’s battery, taking it to the Battery Centre where I had bought it not quite three years ago … and behold … it was “dead” and needed replacing. The new battery installed and the car started first time. “No power … no start … no use!” My reason for telling this story is because unless you are filled with “power” from the Holy Spirit, you will not be able to “go and make”. In other words … we can have such a marvelous message, streamlined, be articulate and eloquent … but without the Spirit’s enabling power we will not achieve anything! In other words … if our hearts are filled with sin, including pride we will be unusable vessels in His service. Our text is:

Mt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

You will recall that the Religious Leaders wanted lies told … where Jesus wants the truth told. The way in which the truth is told is through Him in His Sovereign Power and Authority sending His people to all nations to make disciples by telling people the full gospel … so … He wants us His people to …

(3) Go and make disciples throughout the world. We have already touched on this but more needs to be said.

1) God created man in His image and likeness. This is phenomenal! This is not like a husband and wife procreating and the baby grows up to look like either one or the other parent. That is displaying physical likeness. The likeness and image God created man in is not physical! We don’t even know what God looks like. No one does because God is Spirit. The words “image” and “likeness” in Genesis chapter one as given in the Hebrew means the same thing. As we speed forward to the New Testament we find passages like …

(a)

Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight

You cannot get away from choice (chosen), election and predestination in Scripture. This verse says God chose believers in Jesus before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless … in His sight! These are attributes of God with the general thrust being “sinless”. God “chose” before creation. This means God’s plan for the race was not Israel focused. His plan was “race” focused! Out of the entire race, from Adam through to the last believer … each one chosen was chosen before creation. By the time we reach Romans 8 we find Paul expounding Ephesians 1:4.

(b) He says

Ro 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.

This is mind blowing! Those God chose before the creation of the world were known to Him. It is them that He predestined for a purpose and the purpose is that they conform to the likeness of His Son! Get this, before creation He chose souls to be holy and blameless, in His sight, and these souls have a predestined purpose which is to be Christ-like. That is the end product of the saved soul. The believing soul will conform to the likeness of Jesus. What is the likeness of Jesus? Holy and Blameless, in the Father’s sight! I have spoken to at least two believers in recent days who have explained how they struggle with holiness and victory over sin. Is it just them or are they the bold ones who were prepared to be honest? The Christian life is not easy. The enemy seeks to seduce our senses to attract us to virtually everything in this materialistic and secular world to prevent holiness and blamelessness in us! He wants to prevent us being conformed to the likeness of Jesus! He wants to direct us to return to what Adam lost … the image and likeness of God. Yet the great promise is … as well as an awesome encouragement is … every believer will conform to the likeness of Jesus. We will be holy and blameless! As we progress through life, with all our short falling and sins … we will reach heaven and be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. Throughout this life long journey we read the Bible, ponder upon the Bible, believe the Bible, seek through prayer to apply the Bible to ourselves. We live a continual repenting lifestyle. We live seeking forgiveness for sin. We love, follow, serve … and as we do so we obey and fall and obey and fall … but the end product is that we will conform to the likeness of Jesus.

2) We now know what God’s plan is but we don’t know who the “chosen” are. The Jewish nation is no longer the nation of God. They lost the Kingdom because they rejected its King. Now the Kingdom is open to all who will believe in a saving way. And here is the glory of the Kingdom as it is saturated with God’s love … the door to the Kingdom is via the Cross to anyone who truly believes! Both Jews and Gentiles who accept God’s Rescue Plan … believing Jesus Christ is Messiah, shall be saved and as they:

Phil 2:12 continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

It has nothing to do with an ethnic origin. It has nothing to do with a “skin color”. It has nothing to do with language. It’s has nothing to do with wealth or poverty, sickness or health. It has everything to do with saving faith. As said many times, the one who earnestly wants salvation God’s way will receive it and during the process of “working out salvation” they will become assured that they are God’s own and realize He chose them before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.

3) Our duty then as believers is to get the Gospel to all the earth. Some will train to go; other will give financially; still others will pray … and some might be able to do all these things.

4) There are many wonderful things happening in nations closed to the Gospel because of repressive regimes. Souls are being saved. Churches are being planted … but more needs to be done.

Pray with me:

Lord Jesus, You said … Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. We do this in faith. Amen.

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